Morpeth, Northumberland born goalkeeper Jimmy Strong began his football career with Choppington Welfare in 1931 and played for Pegswood United in 1932 before joining Third Division (North) club Hartlepools United in February 1934, making his Football League debut, and only appearance for The Monkey Hangers, in a 3-3 draw with Gateshead the same month. In August 1934 he signed for Chesterfield, He hadn’t played a full season for Chesterfield before he was signed by First Division Portsmouth as understudy to Jock Gilfillan in March 1935 after 21 appearances for The Spireites, making his debut for Pompey the following month in a win over Manchester City, but he had to wait until December 1936 for his next outing for Portsmouth when he took over the gloves from Gilfillan and didn’t relinquish them thereafter, missing only 5 matches in 1937-38.
Strong joined Southern League Gillingham in the summer of 1938 before returning to Football League action with Walsall a year later, playing all 3 League matches at the start of the 1939-40 season before the outbreak of the Second World War forced its abandonment. After the War he returned to Fellows Park, playing in Walsall’s two ties that saw them exit the 1945-46 FA Cup to Shrewsbury Town, before signing for Second Division Burnley in January 1946. In his first season at Turf Moor Strong helped Burnley both to promotion as Second Division runners up and to the 1947 FA Cup Final at Wembley, where they were beaten by Charlton Athletic in extra time. Strong was an ever present for four consecutive seasons between 1946-47 and 1949-50, indeed he didn’t miss a match for The Clarets until March 1951, a run of 220 consecutive games.
Strong continued as Burnley’s regular goalkeeper until December 1952, when he lost his place to Des Thompson, and already aged 36 he retired at the end of the season.
NB in the photograph taken at Upton Park on 31st May 1947, Strong comes to punch clear as Burnley centre half Alan Brown shields him from a West Ham United forward. Burnley won the game 5-0.